Capital Campaign Case Study: Goodspeed Musicals

Overview/Situation of a Capital Campaign:

Taking on a Capital Campaign for Goodspeed Musicals was an honor. The iconic Goodspeed Opera House, “The Home of the American Musical Theatre,” is a cultural destination for the New England region, welcoming over 120,000 visitors each year and serving thousands through its educational outreach. This classic theater building, in Haddam, Connecticut first opened as a vaudeville and operatic venue in the late 1800s, remaining vacant for many years, and reopened in 1964 as a professional musical theatre.

The Leadership team and Board of Goodspeed recognized the need to launch a capital campaign to preserve this historic landmark for capital/facility improvements that would also enhance the audience experience.

The scope of our work for, and with Goodspeed Musicals included our expertise in developing, leading, and the administration of a capital campaign to raise upward of $7M. Our work would guide the leadership team and their board through the completion of the campaign’s Quiet Phase. We would be leading the organization through a major philanthropic initiative, with a board that shared a vision for the organization but one that had not been engaged in a large-scale philanthropic effort.


Our work with Goodspeed Musicals included the development of a campaign strategy and plan including donor identification, as well as office and board structure enhancements for capital campaign success. During our engagement, training was developed and delivered to board members to create strategies for donor engagement and outreach. We worked closely with Goodspeed’s leadership to create a marketing and communications strategy and collateral materials and created reporting mechanisms to track donor solicitations, pledges, and gift acknowledgment. With the leadership and board members, several lead donors were identified and working with and alongside the Goodspeed team, guiding them through the cultivation and solicitation process with a donor.

Our engagement with Goodspeed Musicals resulted in reaching 90% toward their goal during the silent phase of the campaign. The campaign was placed on temporary hold in early 2020 as a result of the Covid Pandemic.

“We worked with Harvest for about a year on planning and executing the silent phase of our capital campaign. Their expertise and counsel were exactly what we needed to move our campaign to its next phase. We engaged them to help with campaign strategy, planning, and execution as well as board development.

We got all of that and then some from their consultants and principals. They know how to effectively work with boards of all kinds, they look for an institution’s strengths and look to build on those strengths, working from within the organization, and they bring unfailing optimism and good cheer to their work.

We didn’t make it easy for Harvest to do their work with us. Not only were we working with them at the outbreak of a pandemic, but we also asked them to help us with this work when we didn’t have a board-approved campaign project or budget in place. To say that they are flexible and creative thinkers and can pivot on a dime is an understatement.

We look forward to continuing our work with Harvest in the very near future!”

Nancy Altschuler, Director of Development, GOODSPEED MUSICALS


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